Monday, December 5, 2016

Black Magic M-66


   This is probably the most uncomplicated, cut-and-dry, straight forward, simple anime OVA ever. Two military robots get struck by lightning in transport, go haywire in their test mode and end up targeting the granddaughter of their creator for extermination. That's the whole plot. The 45 minute flick is just a breezy action romp. The animation is solid, the story is too simple to have plot holes or twists, and when all is said and done, you'll probably be on Google, wondering if there's more.

   That's in part because it's rare you'll find anything in the anime medium/genre that's ONLY an OVA. Sure, there's the manga it's based on, but there's no sequel OVA, no mini-series, no reboot, remake, or spin-off. It's just this. I suppose you could say this was a dry run for themes and visuals from Shirow Masamune that would go on to be used to much better (debatable) effect in Ghost in the Shell and Appleseed. Personally, I'm more of an Appleseed fan. Mamoru Oshii, the director of the first Ghost' movie doesn't imbue his characters with a lot of (or any, really) emotion. Whereas Appleseed has a romance at it's core.

   It's easy to lose sight of the fact that the creator of all these properties isn't always the guy to bring it to the big or small screen. Not everyone is Katshuhiro Otomo. Having said that, if you're a fan of Shirow Masamune's work- his concepts, ideas, and the visuals he's known for, you'll probably have fun with this flick. If you're looking for something with the personality of Appleseed, you're more than likely going to be left wanting. These characters are ultimately disposable. They work within the context of this 45 minute excursion, and that's it. Which is so odd for a medium that's used to exploring characters at great (and even tedious) length.

    Lastly, if you're looking for the philosophical edge of Ghost in the Shell, you're most definitely going to be disappointed. The robot antagonists in M-66 have less personality than the Terminator. There's no artificial intelligence sub-plot, the robots aren't misunderstood or being manipulated. This is not much more than a simplistic riff on familiar genre tropes. Dangerous machine hunting innocent girl. That's about it. It doesn't have the following that Appleseed or GiTS has, and it's plain to see why. There's nothing to really follow. Like I said, the characters are disposable, and on that note, so is everything else about this flick. It's fun, and engaging. The heroine is gutsy but funny, but that's about it.

   If you're looking for some genre filler for your anime DVD shelf, you could do worse than Black Magic M-66. It's not bad by any means, and it's simplicity was refreshing in a way, but I was constantly waiting for a plot twist that never came. Which is more my own fault than anything, but whatever. The movie is fast, violent, and well animated. You already know if this is for you or not.

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